A Cop Explains Why We Become Jaded, Cynical and Angry

05Sep14

After I published my opinion piece about the shooting in Ferguson Missouri, I received many emails from police officers and private citizens thanking me for writing it. I also received one message from a police officer who tried to explain how the job has changed him, and why he is the way he is. I thought his piece was well-written and extremely powerful, and received his permission to post it here. I think it might help some people to understand how difficult the job can be, and what can happen to even the best of us after we’ve worked the street long enough.

Again, I AM NOT THE AUTHOR OF THIS ESSAY. Furthermore, I have no way of verifying that the author is who he says he is, or that these incidents truly occurred. But his feelings and experiences certainly ring true.

I’ve written several posts about my experiences as a street cop. They can be found at https://chrishernandezauthor.com/category/what-police-work-is-really-like/. There’s one I haven’t written, about having to leave a screaming three year old boy with his worthless mother and her piece of crap ex-con boyfriend. The boyfriend hadn’t broken the law, but he hated the boy and constantly scared the hell out of him because the boy’s father belonged to a rival gang. The mother refused to let her sister take the boy out of the apartment. And I had to drive away and leave that little boy there. It’s not something I like to think about.

One of the stories this author tells reminded me a lot about driving away from that apartment while that little boy cried in fear. I understand why the author feels so guilty about it.

If you have any feedback I will pass it along to the author. Thanks,

Chris

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One of the reasons that police officers tend to be so passionate in police-related discussion threads is because they have personalized their jobs. Police work is not some YouTube video they watch, theorize about, and then go on about their regular life. For them, it’s not theory. Many police officers tend to define themselves by their jobs and their experiences in policing. Many counselors and LE trainers will tell you that it’s wrong and misguided to do so (“you” being cops in general). They’re right about that too. But such warnings rarely work in the real world. When a cop hears people earnestly criticizing police without knowing all the facts, it stings for some very personal reasons. When we hear others second guessing us, we are prone to simply saying that our critics don’t know what they are talking about. We get angry about it even though we probably shouldn’t. Please let me try to explain why.

This a very small sample of some real-world situations I have personally had to handle while serving as a police officer. Nothing is exaggerated. My experiences are neither unique nor special.

We received a call from a concerned citizen who stated that her friend may have done “something bad” to her family. Her friend had left her a rambling voicemail about “ending it all” and sending her family to Heaven. We responded to the house and made entry with our pistols drawn. We performed a slow search of the house and began to find bodies inside. Our search and the subsequent investigation revealed that the woman had taken a .38 revolver and murdered her husband by shooting him in the head as he slept. There was a perfect hole in his left ear where she missed his skull and put a bullet through his ear and into the bed. The other bullet had landed dead center in his skull and killed him while he was taking a nap. Her daughter in the next room had obviously heard the shots and had piled her clothes and bedding on top of her bed and then attempted to hide under the pile. The women then went into her daughter’s room, pulled the clothing out of the way, and shot her daughter two times in the face. The girl did not die immediately. She lingered for hours. The mound of pink foam that collected on her face and throat was evidence of her labored breathing that lasted for some time before she finally died. After shooting her daughter, the woman went into her bedroom and sat on the bed. She reloaded the revolver from a small box of ammunition. She fired a single “test round” into the ceiling (this is common in suicides). She then fired a single round into the side of her own head and died on the bed. So there we are searching a house and finding a scene with three dead people…a whole family dead. And we’re supposed to act like everything is routine and fine, especially because there’s so much media there with their high-quality cameras and super long lenses. We secure the scene, call CID, call the ME, and do our reports. We help load bodies into the Meat Wagon…yeah that’s what we call it….and then we go home. The man died quick but I try to forget what that girl’s face looked like.

We receive a call of a single car accident near the High School. The call notes state that a car struck a pedestrian. By pure luck (either good or bad) I am literally around the corner when the call comes out. My response time is about 10 seconds. When I arrive on the scene, I observe a small 4-door import vehicle at an intersection. There is a 15-year-old female laying in the street. The amount of blood coming out of her head is the same size as the flow of water that comes out of my water hose when I turn it on. Except this is bright, red blood flowing out of her head in a stream that is about ¾” of an inch in diameter. I can smell the blood. The odor is thick in the air and it flows in a thick, viscous stream on the pavement. She looks me in the eye and says, “It hurts,” and then she dies right in front of me. I maintain my composure and then I find out who the driver is. It’s a 16-year-old girl who just got her license. She mistook the gas pedal for the brake pedal when the victim stepped out into the roadway and she panicked when the car accelerated instead of slowing down. I look at the windshield on the car and see a large tuft of hair and scalp lodged in the spiderwebbed glass. I realize that it’s from the dead 15-year-old girl. The boy who had been walking with the dead girl just before she got hit has speckled blood all over his face and he doesn’t even know it. He was just a young man trying to hold her hand and maybe sneak a kiss. He asks me, “Is she going to die?” I tell him the truth because I owe him that much. Later, as I direct traffic and watch that girl’s blood literally run down the gutter and into the street drain, a crowd of citizens gathers nearby. One loud-mouthed man in the crowd says, “This kind of stuff wouldn’t happen if these cops would do their jobs.” My first instinct is to leave my post, walk over to him, and cave his ignorant face in. But I don’t. I show no emotion. I hold my anger inside because I also want to cry for the girl and her family. I am the last person she ever saw on this earth and there was nothing I could do for her.

We respond to a call at a Section 8 apartment where a baby is not breathing. It turns out that while the mother was earning minimum wage at Wendy’s, her Mexican Mafia boyfriend got tired of the crying baby. He pulled the 3 month old baby out of the crib, raised her over his head, and threw her on the floor as hard as he could. The fall fractured her skull, shattered her pelvis, broke her pliable ribs, and killed her. As we investigate further, we find there’s another bedroom with a hasp lock on the outside. Entering the bedroom, we find two more girls in there. They look like they are 2 and 4 years old. We later learn they are actually 4 and 6 years old but they are malnourished and under-stimulated. They are wearing filthy, stained panties and nothing else. The room is void of toys or decorations of any kind. There are two little beds on either side of the room and the whole filthy room stinks of urine. There are screws in the window so that it cannot be opened. A search of the room reveals that there is another hasp lock on the closet door. I look into the closet and a chill comes over me when I realize that Mexican Mafia boyfriend was keeping these little girls prisoner inside that closet for God knows how long. There are scratch marks all around the doorknob inside the closet where they tried to get out. The closest reeks of human waste and the carpet is matted. As I help them get dressed so they can go with Child Protective Services, the younger girl clings to my arm. She squeezes my right arm as hard as she can and will not let go. The other girl lets me tie the three little bows on the back of her blue dress and then she starts jumping up and down in pure excitement while she asks me over and over and over again, “Are we going for a ride? Are we going for a ride?” It’s all I can do to maintain my composure. This 6-year-old girl is the same size as my own 4-year-old daughter. No matter how much I drink, and no matter how far I ride my motorcycle, I cannot shake the effect this girl has had on me. I was powerless to stop it. I couldn’t fix it. I couldn’t solve it. I used to weep, shake, and cry as I thought about how happy those girls were to be taken out of there. I am later ashamed that I did not try to adopt them. I curse myself for not trying harder to take them both into my own home even though I know that I could not afford to take on two more children in addition to my own. Even as I type these words, I feel intense guilt for not taking those girls home with me….as if that would ever be allowed. Every time I drink too much, I think about those two little girls imprisoned in that room and their dead sister in the room next door. But I’m a tough cop who’s not supposed to admit to those emotions. I later learned that the mother gave up all parental rights to the two girls and they were put in the foster care system.

I’m working as a Sergeant on evening-shift Patrol. A citizen calls in and says that he lives across the street from a house where we just responded to a disturbance. He says that he watched as the officers confronted his neighbor who is normally a nice guy. He explains the horror that he experienced as he watched the police use a Taser on his neighbor and he angrily describes the screams that he heard from his neighbor as he was Tasered and then arrested. He uses words and phrases like, “torture,” “excessive use of force,” and “Nazis,” to describe his perspective of the arrest. He says that one of the officers used profanity while wrestling in the mud with his neighbor and that he is offended that his wife heard this profanity from a member of what used to be a professional police department. He explains that he wants to file a formal complaint on the officer who used the profanity and every officer who was party to using the Taser on his neighbor. He states that he is concerned with the quality of officers that we are hiring these days. There’s no way the citizen can possibly know that his normally nice neighbor beat his wife’s face in with an angel figurine and that she will require major reconstructive surgery to ever look normal again. All he knows is that he saw some unpleasantness in the front yard of his neighbor’s property and it didn’t look right to him.

My mind begins to wander as the citizen continues speaking and repeating himself for the fifth time. I wonder if he and his family are healthy. I can’t help it but I think about whether or not he’s ever had someone else’s blood on him. I think about how my rifle has felt in my hands on critical calls and I wonder if he has ever been fired upon or had to return fire. I think about the meth freak who shot at us with a 12 gauge shotgun a few weeks ago. I listen to the citizen rant and rave and rage against the Department and I think about how just last week, I tried to talk to an 8-year old boy while the brains and blood of that boy’s father dripped from the ceiling and onto my uniform. His father put his brains on the ceiling with a .357 Magnum which he fired into his mouth as the boy watched. The boy asked me if his Daddy was going to be OK even as his father’s blood was spreading across the floor behind me. I can still smell the dead man’s brains and blood and I can still see the face of that boy as I tried to tell him that his Daddy was gone. I try as hard as I can to take the citizen’s complaint seriously but there is a part of me that wants to reach through the phone and strangle him with all the strength I have in my hands. I listen patiently and speak in a monotone, emotionless voice. I take his name, and promise him that I will address his complaint with the officer, which I later do. There are times when I wish with all my heart that the biggest problem I had to deal with was watching some cop use a Taser on a non-compliant suspect. I would subject myself to a thousand Taser shots if I never had to see that little girl’s face again. I would plead guilty to almost any offense and throw myself on the mercy of any court if I could just get that little girl’s voice out of my head with her little child-sing-songy voice saying, “Are we going for a ride? Are we going for a ride?”

Have I personalized some things? Yes, I have. It’s impossible not to. Am I normal? Hell no, I am not normal. I’m pretty far from normal. Shortly after taking that last complaint, I spent the next three years overseeing investigations of aggravated sexual assaults against children, burnings, cuttings, electrical cord whippings, child pornography, beatings of almost unbelievable magnitude, and mothers whoring out their 10 year old daughters, among other wonderful things. At the end of the day, I would go home and just sit quietly for a while and look at my normal, healthy kids as they ate or played.

These days, I occupy a slightly higher position in the Department and I’m almost done with my Master’s degree. I pore over peer-reviewed, scholarly articles and I write formal papers for school. I deal in facts and figures and spreadsheets nowadays while also overseeing the Training Unit. I am asked for my opinions on policy issues. I attend meetings with upper-level administrators in aseptic rooms where everything is under control and there is no hint of danger. Still, the faces of the dead and the smell of their blood are always with me. Even so, it’s not the dead I fixate on, it’s the living. I think about the hand that others have been dealt and how there’s nothing I can do to change it. I think about how those children will turn out in 20 years and how so many cops out there are just trying their best to hold everything together in a sea of entropy.

I carry my own weight. Whether you want to believe it or not, I also carry your weight sometimes. All cops carry the weight of others because that’s one of the things we are paid to do, even if it’s not listed on a civil service job description anywhere. I consider myself a servant. Ultimately…that’s what police officers are. They’re servants.

I have nightmares sometimes but my experience is not unique. It’s commonplace among police officers. That’s why some cops get irritated when citizens suggest that we are overpaid or that we don’t deserve the pension that was promised to us after 25 years of service, or criticize things that are only theory for them. It’s not theory for us. It’s not theory for me. I have the scars on my knuckles and my soul to prove it.

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Thanks very much to the anonymous author for that insight. I hope everyone who read it learned something worthwhile.

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Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for BreachBangClear.com, Iron Mike magazine and has published two military fiction novels, Proof of Our Resolve and Line in the Valley, through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at chris_hernandez_author@yahoo.com or on his Facebook author page at https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve?ref=bookmarks.

http://www.amazon.com/Line-Valley-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B00HW1MA2G/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
http://www.amazon.com/Proof-Our-Resolve-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B0099XMR1E/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=07TX4R097J3VKCTVCN2C

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75 Responses to “A Cop Explains Why We Become Jaded, Cynical and Angry”

  1. Powerful and tragic.

  2. I am not a cop. I have never seen the sorts of things this officer describes, and Please Almighty God I never do, although I very much fear I will, and soon. My praise and gratitude to those of you who choose to face this and fight knows no bounds.

    But here’s the thing: Cops cannot, best will in the world, CANNOT prevent this, fix it, or even clean up the mess anymore. This is happening in large part because we civilians have been told there’s nothing we can do. In many jurisdictions, there’s little we are permitted to do, other than phone an overworked, burned out bureaucracy and ask for help. Knowing, as we do, that we run a substantial risk of retribution from the wrongdoer, or even being mistaken for the wrongdoer ourselves, because bureaucracy.

    We know that increasingly, many of you see the Constitution as an impediment to what MUST be done if there is to be even the thinnest varnish of civilization on growing savagery. You cannot help this. We would, too, in your boots. But as it is, we think that if you don’t have to follow the rules, neither should we, and we all take another turn down the spiral.

    No way may many of us can even legally own the tool we need to mount a plausible defense, much less carry it in public, or even less, use it.

    I won’t do more than mention the problems arising from a people forcibly taught in official schools that the universe consists only of particles and rays obeying the laws of physics. Oh, and the dictates of the aforementioned bureaucracy. The leaders of which, in fine offices, legislative bodies, and judicial chambers, definitely set themselves above the petty rules and weak morality they hold their subjects to.

    What we see is cops who are as helpless as we are in the face of outright evil, being repurposed to punish the more or less law abiding and peaceable over trivialities, or even to block our attempts to defend ourselves, our families, and our liberties.

    “He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent forth a swarm of officers to harass the people and eat out their substance.”

    Increasingly, we see you not as a thin blue line, but as a flood of redcoats. As I know you do not wish to be, but you have no choice except to walk away. To abandon your fellows, your careers, your pensions. To turn your back on the citizens you want so desperately to serve.

    To let us rise or fall on our own merits.

    No blue line, however thick, can save us. The blue must run through all of us. We and the blue must see each other as equals, in both virtue and sin, neither better or worse than the other.

    “The police are the people, and the people are the police, the police being only citizens paid to attend full time to duties incumbent on every citizens.”

    I hear the true pain in your correspondent’s writing. I fear the attitudes and actions that must necessarily flow from it.

    I don’t know what to do, but pray.

    And hit the range.

  3. Working in any public fashion really illustrates the ignorance that pervades society. Even the wal-mart checker has stories of how ignorant and indignant people can be with something so simple as a store purchase that’s the wrong price.

    When you elevate to one of the few people who really see whats behind the veil, and just how poor members of society handle themselves and others… its as if blinders have been taken off. What is seen can never be unseen.

    I am a Nurse and I receive patients from the ED as a trauma / ortho unit. All we have are stories and a patched up victim or possibly an assailant chained to a bed with a bored cop at their side.

    Its so alarming to see people lose it over situations that do not merit the same response from “normal people”. To see someone become a animal because they perceive something bigger than it really is. To truly have to deal and hold down someone who is acting like a wild beast is something you can’t explain to others who have never experienced it.

    Again, I only deal with the after effects of a car crash, or an assault… im not there on the street seeing the gore and looking at the pool of blood, but the stories are with the patient and you just cant get more FUBAR than what people do to themselves and each other on a daily basis.

    How do you deal with the child who was physically and verbally abusive to his mother and dropped off for psychiatric holding… when his mother died on the way home in a wreck after dropping him off at the facility? On Valentines day? How do you fix his mental scars as he constantly writes letters to his dead mother while so full of guilt?

    Most people lead sterile lives, never seeing the underbelly of what we are. It’s a good reason to have a bug out bag and a rifle… When disaster strikes… people lose themselves.

  4. Strange how this works. After my earlier reply, I start going through other open tabs. And I find two articles that directly bear on this issue.

    In Old but increasingly less Jolly England, police are on the verge of giving up on certain crimes, and are asking the citizenry to do their own investigations. (These would be the citizens, mind, the police have heretofore rendered disarmed and helpless.)

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-29053978

    And then there’s this healing balm from Britta, reminding us to not let our perfectly justified anger control us.

    http://lifeafterwar.org/2014/09/03/stop-letting-isis-control-you

  5. 5 ndp0911

    I knew what this letter was going to read like before reading it, yet I couldn’t stop reading it. The sights, the smells and the emotions ring true.

  6. I’ve purposely stayed away from this thread because of my own emotional reactions to the events in Ferguson, and St. Louis, and Austin, and Chicago, and San Diego, and Kalamazoo, and Beavercreek, OH and others.

    What this police officer reports is traumatic, and horrific, and shouldn’t happen. But in what way does it relate to what happened between Darren Wilson and Mike Brown in Ferguson?

    None of what this man writes—as heart-rending as it is—explains why Mike Brown was shot six times, or Kajieme Powell a dozen times. Or why a black woman driving a maroon car was pulled over, removed from her car and handcuffed in front of her terrified children by police looking for a beige vehicle carrying four black men. Or why Chris Lollie was tasered in front of his children for refusing to show ID to police who had no reason for demanding to see it. Or why older white men in Kalamazoo and San Diego were patiently talked down by law enforcement officers, even though they were different from the others I mentioned in one significant detail.

    They were armed. In one case, the man was drunk and handling a rifle carelessly and in the other, the man was pointing a hand gun at passersby and police. Both of these men were shouting angrily and abusively at the officers who responded.

    Was Mike Brown a big man? Yes. Did that make him so dangerous to an armed police officer that the officer was justified in shooting him repeatedly? Perhaps only God knows. But this morning I read a story about an unarmed US Marshall who subdued an assailant when he charged by kicking him in the groin and punching him out. SHE injured her pinkie doing it.

    Did the marijuana in Mike Brown’s system make him prone to violence? Highly unlikely. Marijuana has quite the opposite effect on the nervous system. This effect is well known to law enforcement personnel. A sheriff of my acquaintance commented that he and his men would far rather police a rock concert than a country western or blue grass concert because at rock concerts the patrons were more likely to be smoking pot, which made them mellow and compliant, whereas the beer and other alcohol consumed at CW and bluegrass concerts made for ugly confrontations with drunken revelers.

    I think any time law enforcement officers injure or kill unarmed people—regardless of their skin color, social class, age or size, the circumstances have to be questioned and effort put into determining whether extraordinary force was used. And if an officer is so traumatized by his job that someone like Mike Brown or Chris Lollie or Kajieme Powell looks dangerous enough to be tasered or shot multiple times, we need to consider whether that traumatization should preclude that officer being armed and sent into the street where the stresses of the job can lead to tragic miscalculations.

    Ultimately, I am hopeful that the embrace of body cameras may serve to protect both officers and those they are pledged to serve and protect. I’ve already seen one case in which the body camera worn by an officer exonerated him of any charge that he used excessive force.

    • I’ll give a longer answer later, but this post wasn’t meant to explain anything about the Ferguson shooting.

      • The article is tagged Ferguson, Missouri. You say at the top that it was sent in response to your article about Mike Brown’s shooting in which you said you felt the officer in the incident was justified in shooting Brown repeatedly.

        Perhaps you are not aware that you connected the two and that this seems to be a sidewise justification or explanation of why an officer might react as Darren Wilson and others have done.

        • Maya,

          They’re only connected because a cop sent me this essay after he read mine, and because at least one commenter mentioned that I was cynical and jaded. Nothing in this essay addresses the specifics of the Ferguson shooting, although it does talk about how often we’re criticized by people who have zero understanding of the facts.

          So connected, yes. Provide justification, no and wasn’t meant to.

          Hope that clears it up.

          • Understood.

            And I agree about the connectedness of police response to police experience. Clearly, the attitude of a police officer in such a circumstance contributes to the outcome. If an officer is jaded and cynical about other human beings, he is more likely to interpret their actions through that lens—to hear a question as a smart ass retort, or perceive a nervous grin or grimace as a disrespectful smirk, or read a gesture of frustration or even fear as a threat.

            Trauma clearly takes a toll. An officer who’s been in a dangerous situation (trapped in a blind alley by an armed assailant, say) may react exaggeratedly when he perceives that he’s in that situation again.

            I think that contributes to situations in which an officer thinks he sees a gun and his horrified to realize no gun was present after he has shot someone.

          • I’m actually answering here a comment further down the thread.

            I am not a callous person, Chris. I wasn’t commenting on my sense of the crime—which I only know from repeated watchings of the video—but on how the clerk seems to have reacted to it. One of the most puzzling things about this case is the lack of comment from the clerk. I would have expected his commentary to figure prominently in news coverage. I would think his input would be valuable. The fact that he confronted Mike Brown about the theft indicates that he had little fear that Brown was going to harm him. If he saw Mike Brown as a terrifying danger, wouldn’t he have stayed safely behind the counter and just let him leave, then call the police?

            If he was afraid of Brown retaliating for a 911 call, where was that fear when he confronted him? Maybe he knew Brown; maybe he didn’t. Either way, his sense of how dangerous he felt Brown was to him would seem important to understanding whether Brown was a beast in a man’s body, or big teenager who—like many teenagers—does stupid stuff.

            BTW, the chief reason that sexual assault victims don’t report rape or even sexual harassment is that they know the case may come down to he said-she said. With a video of the incident, that would not be the case. If a woman who was raped could be certain of being believed, far more would be reported. Wouldn’t you agree?

          • Maya,

            What was strange about how the clerk responded to the robbery? At first it was just a theft; someone grabbed something and started walking out. The clerk ran after him. Thief then grabs clerk by the collar and shoves him, then walks aggressively toward him. Clerk gives up and robber leaves. Some business owners in high-crime neighborhoods won’t report crimes because they’re afraid of being retaliated against. One convenience store in Ferguson was looted and burned, and “Snitches get stitches” spray painted on it. Maybe that’s why the clerk didn’t report the crime.

            http://www.newson6.com/story/26254460/employee-safety-top-concern-for-quiktrip-management-after-st-louis-riots

          • Answering your question here because there’s no reply button on your response. I apologize for my lack of clarity. I thought I was clear about why I commented on the clerk’s reaction.

            You had said he possibly didn’t report the theft because he was afraid of retaliation (I assume you meant retaliation from Mike Brown, correct me if I’m wrong about that). You and CR (and many others) also focused on how big Brown was and how frightening he was. But the clerk confronts him, though he’s not only big but accompanied by another man. He tries to physically stop him from leaving the store, then follows him out onto the sidewalk as soon as Brown turns around. This isn’t the behavior of someone who is terrified of being harmed.

            Perhaps this is because he knew Brown, but whatever the reason, this unarmed store clerk doesn’t seem to find him that intimidating. He is clearly not in fear for his life. Do you see how it might be difficult to understand how a well-armed police officer would find him that terrifying at a distance?

            Also, the autopsy suggests that several of the shots were to the inside of Brown’s arms, which is consistent with witness testimony that he had his arms raised when he was first shot. Granted, this would serve to make him look even larger, but six bullets—the last of which may have been fired as he was falling to the ground? He was a man, not a monster, but his physical size seems to incline many people to believe he was just that.

            If you’re six-four and weigh close to 300 pounds, do you just automatically terrify people? I have a black, male friend who is nearly that big—though it’s all muscle. He’s also a police officer. Perhaps it’s context, but I’ve never found him at all frightening.

            It seems that what you’re suggesting is that a smaller man or a woman might have the luxury of showing anger, but someone Mike Brown’s size can’t ever show that they’re angry or frightened or upset, because when people look at him they don’t see an unarmed man—they see a weapon. That’s sad because it means we still are inclined to judge people by appearances.

          • Maya,

            It’s late and I can’t type a long reply, but I will say that I’m not suggesting any of the conclusions you’re reaching. I’ll also say you’re basing all of your conclusions on emotion rather than facts.

          • Chris, I’m basing my assessment of the video of what I see in the video. The clerk is clearly not afraid to confront Brown. I’m not saying that Darren Wilson shot Mike Brown out of hand because he hates blacks, or because he’s a racist. I haven’t said one thing to demonize Darren Wilson. All I’ve done is try to suggest that demonizing Mike Brown is equally unjust.

            He’s portrayed as a thug, a bully, a monster whose very physical size is so terrifying that an armed policeman felt he had to put him down with multiple shots even though he had his hands raised—which he did, according to several witnesses and the autopsy.

            After checking Justia for a clear, legal definition of strong arm robbery, I accept your assessment that Mike Brown committed 3rd degree robbery, defined this way: “The category of Robbery—Strong-arm—Hands, Fists, Feet, etc., (3d) includes muggings and similar offenses in which only personal weapons such as hands, arms, feet, fists, and teeth are employed or their use is threatened to deprive the victim of possessions. …force or threat of force is used to overcome the active resistance of the victim, the offense must be classified as strong-arm robbery (3d).”

            Mike Brown’s theft fit this scenario offered by the source: “A juvenile was observed by a store security guard concealing compact discs under his shirt. When he was confronted, the youth punched the security guard and fled the store, leaving the compact discs behind.”

            Did this make him worthy of being shot to death? I would say not. Is that based on emotion? In part, and I fail to see why that’s any more questionable than deciding he DID deserve to be shot based on emotion. But that reaction is also based on my understanding of human beings. None of us is completely evil or completely good. We are, at best, a mixed bag. Every one of us.

            What I’ve seen in this comment thread is twofold: the strong desire to justify Brown’s shooting based on assumptions about what kind of person he was. Big, mean, bullying. There’s no indication of where those opinions of his nature came from other than a brief video. The other component is the repeated attacks on my understanding, my ability to parse information and what I see in the video and my ability to separate my own emotional responses from rational assessment.

            Please note, I have not suggested that any those who have responded to me in this way are intellectual feeble, over-emotional or … anything. In fact, my commentary on one poster’s input was an attempt to understand why he felt it necessary to attack me and demonize Mike Brown.

            But from where I sit, there is an important point being missed: Mike Brown’s size should not cause him to be viewed as a weaponized thug. That is prejudice and, as visceral and instinctive as it is, it is not rational.

            I have more experience with bullies than I care to think about. I was overly tall and overweight when I was a kid. I was repeatedly harassed and even beaten by smaller, older boys who felt that bullying a big girl somehow made them look bigger, better, more powerful. My friends who were similarly built—both male and female—had similar experiences. With his baby face, a big, heavyset kid like Mike Brown was far more likely to be bullied than to bully.

            Speaking emotionally for a moment, I’ll tell you that I have never in my life felt threatened by a black man of any size or age. That is not through lack of contact. I am however, viscerally and irrationally uneasy around young white men, in part because of the experiences my college aged daughter has had with them. Can I imagine being viscerally afraid of black men? Sure. I’m a writer by trade, I make my living imaging things. But I am careful to separate those things from reality and equally careful to understand that an emotional reaction to a situation makes it even more critical that I assess it rationally.

          • Maya,

            You really are a loving caring person. I’m not being sarcastic. But you don’t get this situation. Brown wasn’t shot because he committed a robbery. We cops don’t get to shoot someone because “they committed a bad crime”. You’re not getting the fundamentals of police lethal force encounters. If you like, I’ll explain it by phone. Email your number to chris_hernandez_author@yahoo.com and I’ll explain how lethal force law and policy works. That’s a sincere invitation.

          • Chris, you’re not understanding why I’m making the points about the robbery. I did not bring the robbery into this assessment of Brown’s life and death. I was commenting on the assertion by other commenters that it did in some way. CR Newman, for example, decided that Brown was a bully whose robbery of the store (among other things that he asserts) made him worthy of being shot to death. That assertion—which I’ve heard repeatedly in discussions about the shooting—and the assertion that Brown was terrifying merely because of his size is why I went back to what’s in the store video.

            My argument is twofold: 1) the robbery is unconnected to Wilson’s attitudes and actions and 2) demonizing Brown because of what happened in that store is an emotional response that overlooks the strong evidence that the store clerk was not afraid of him and that his shooting was unconnected to the robbery.

            In your article on the shooting, you write: “Both Kos and Cracked assert the robbery didn’t matter, either because the officer didn’t know about it or because stealing $50 worth of cigars doesn’t justify a shooting. I offer a counterpoint: yes, the robbery is hugely important. We’ve heard conflicting reports about whether or not the officer was aware of the robbery, and I can’t say for certain he knew Brown was a robbery suspect. But Michael Brown sure as hell knew he had committed a robbery. He knew he was about to be arrested for something more serious than shoplifting.”

            The only way the robbery is relevant to the shooting is if, as you propose, it made Brown violently attack an armed policeman who shot at him as he tried to escape. (Which seems improbable but not impossible.) But that is to try to read Mike Brown’s mind and come to conclusions about the “rightness” of his shooting based on assumptions about his person for which there is no objective evidence such as video. In other words, we can’t know who Mike Brown is because he is dead. We have only two points of view: those who knew him (whom you would accuse of bias) and Darren Wilson (whose impartiality we surely must doubt.)

            Two more witnesses have now come forward (workmen from an apartment complex nearby) who both claim that Brown stumbled while running from Wilson, then turned toward him with his arms raised, yelling, “Okay!” repeatedly and that when he began to move toward the officer, he still had his hands raised. That was when Wilson fired the shots that brought him down. This also seems to be backed up by the autopsy which shows a series of wounds to the underside of Brown’s arms.

            I did not suggest that Wilson shot Brown because of the robbery or that he should have shot him because of the robbery. I understand that’s not within an officer’s purview—you’re offering to explain that to the wrong person.

            I am only arguing against the assumption here that Mike Brown was a big thug who lived a life so violent he deserved to die for it and that Darren Wilson did the world a service by removing him from it.

          • The autopsy showed one round entered and exited Brown’s right arm twice before entering his torso. That means his arm was in front, not raised, when he was shot. If you think an officer can shoot someone several times in the arm from any distance, I’d guess you’ve never fired a pistol at a moving target under stress.

            And again, I’m surprised at how callous your response to the robbery is. You’ve agreed that yes, it was a robbery. Yes, Brown assaulted and threatened the clerk. But you, for reasons I don’t understand, have decided the clerk wasn’t scared. If he wasn’t, why did he back away when Brown approached him after assaulting him?

            You might have heard of the Ray Rice video, where he punched his fiancé and knocked her unconscious. She married him afterward, so obviously she didn’t feel abused, correct? So is it “no big deal” for a man to knock a woman out, as long as I personally don’t think it bothered her too much?

            Also, nobody has said it’s okay to shoot someone just because they’re big. I haven’t said that, and neither has anyone else here.

          • Chris, so now your response is to distract from the points I’ve raised by calling my character into question. You’ve had people suggest that Mike Brown’s death was a good thing and you call me callous?

            I’m sorry but I can’t take that seriously. The clerk’s behavior is not the behavior of someone who is terrified. Yes, he scoots out of Brown’s way when Brown turns and chases him back to the store. But the moment Brown turns away, he goes right after him again and follows him into the street. He doesn’t run back to the counter and call 911. Other than that, I don’t know what he did.

            Here’s the question I keep asking: Does Brown’s behavior in the store tell us unequivocally that he is irredeemably violent and therefore deserving of being killed?

            I’ve seen both Ray Rice videos and while I’m glad the NFL finally acted responsibly, I’m disappointed that they didn’t do it when it was clear that he had hit his fiancé. But this, too, is a distraction from the points I raised, which you seem not to want to speak to. Honestly, Chris, I find your use of this incident—which I suspect you chose because I’m a woman—offensive. You continue to miss the context in which I raise the clerk’s behavior—you and several of the commenters here have suggested that Darren Wilson had every reason to be so terrified of Mike Brown that he had no option but to shoot him. His size has been cited as a reason that he was that threatening.

            If the robbery can be used to argue that Brown was so violent he deserved to die, then it can be used to illustrate that the clerk was unaware of the extreme violence of his nature because he got in his face EVEN AFTER Brown chased him back into the store.

            If the clerk was traumatized by the incident, he has my sympathy. But so does Mike Brown’s family and friends who no doubt loved him, and whose grief is something they will have to live with from here on out. No one has mentioned them in all this. Is that callous?

            I have a son whose loss would be unimaginably devastating—especially under such violent circumstances. Mike Brown’s mother is clearly in agony over her son’s loss; his stepfather saw his body lying in the street in a pool of blood. Can you even imagine that? Where is your concern for them—any of you who have commented here?

            I have raised questions about the demonization of Mike Brown in answer to assertions made about his character, his size, his behavior. I’ve yet to see those things addressed. Instead, Chris, you have chosen to make this about MY character—my supposed callousness—and the conclusion that because I protest writing Mike Brown off as deserving of what he got, I am insensitive to domestic abuse.

            Yet to the fellow who painted Brown as a violent bully who was arrogant, ignorant and entitled, and who concluded: ” I am glad this world has one less of this type of person” you have nothing to say?

          • Maya,

            I’m not calling your character into question. I’m telling you I’m surprised at your “what’s the big deal?” response to a robbery victim. And yes, you’re viewing it from a completely emotional viewpoint. When someone commits a crime, what’s in their mind makes the act criminal, not necessarily what’s in the victim’s mind. If I walk up to a random guy and punch him I’ve committed assault even if the guy wasn’t hurt. Brown committed theft, assaulted the clerk, then threatened him. That’s all criminal. Whether or not the clerk was scared doesn’t change Brown’s mental state.

            I didn’t challenge the “he deserved to die” statement even though I don’t agree with it. I do agree that Brown seems to have been a violent bully. I don’t address every statement I disagree with, just like I don’t address every statement I agree with. There are over 600 responses to this essay and the first one I wrote; I can’t answer them all. I addressed yours because it was an emotional statement framed in logical terms, and because I was extremely surprised by your dismissal of what we both know is a serious crime.

            I did compare the robbery to domestic violence because I thought you would better understand it. And I’m still surprised by your response. In the video we see Brown steal cigars, then push and threaten a much smaller man. If I understand you correctly, you say that proves nothing at all about Brown’s character or state of mind. We also see the store clerk run after a thief who just stole from him (which a lot of business owners will do because they don’t want word to get out that they’re easy to steal from), then we see Brown grab and shove him, then we see the clerk back away from an aggressive 6’4″ 292 pound man who’s physically threatening him. Yet you claim that shows the clerk wasn’t scared. That doesn’t make sense and I didn’t expect it from you.

          • Chris, yes, you made your responses to me about my supposed callousness—which, in this case, would amount to a character flaw. I have many flaws, callousness is not one of them. And I never said, never meant “what’s the big deal?” That was not my point and I’ve tried to say that repeatedly.

            If I know a person to be compassionate and caring, say, and I read into their words something callous, my first response is to think it most likely I have misunderstood their intent. In other words, my first response is to reality check my own assumptions—not the other person’s. I’m gratified when others return the favor. Alas, it does’t happen often. Most of the time, people respond as you did and affix a label based on how you filtered my responses. It is what it is.

            My point is not that I don’t think the robbery is a big deal, but that the clerk was not terrified of Mike Brown. And the reasonableness of an armed police officer being terrified of Brown lies at the heart of the situation.

            It is logical to presume that Brown and his friend frequented the store since it was so close to his home and that the clerk may have even been familiar with Brown—which might explain his seeming lack of inhibition about getting in Brown’s face. Could it have been sheer adrenaline? Maybe. But since the clerk has not spoken, to my knowledge, about his frame of mind when the robbery took place (which seems odd to me), we don’t know for certain and have only the video to go by. It’s not my concern for the clerk that is at issue, but his seeming lack of concern for his own safety.

            You say Mike Brown was a bully. On what do you base that assessment? The store video? A few minutes out of this young man’s life and you label him “bully”, then tell me I’m framing emotional conclusions in logical terms? I find that observation ironic, considering that it is a lack of emotion, a distance, a “callousness” that you claim characterizes my reaction to the store video.

            Are my emotions engaged by this incident (and others)? Absolutely. I feel for everyone involved in this mess. And I freely admit my compassion for Brown’s parents and my disappointment in the way this situation has been handled by law enforcement, by the press, and by individuals. I’m sorry the clerk had to endure a robbery. I’m sorry Darren Wilson was involved in the manner he was. If, as I suspect, he’s never shot anyone before, this can’t help but have a huge impact on his life.

            But my assessment of the autopsy evidence, what’s in the video (and what’s not) is, I assure you, no knee-jerk emotional reaction. I actually am quite capable of stripping these things of their emotional baggage and looking at what the evidence suggests. In fact, my doing so with the store video has prompted you to suggest that I do not bring enough emotional engagement to the situation.

            I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt on the Ray Rice disconnect. But you were not appealing to my rational faculties there, but to my emotions as a woman. If I may be blunt, that’s a bit of a cheap shot. Having read so many of your articles, and the way you connect both rationality and emotion (which are both valuable aspects of any human’s response) I’m surprised at you, too.

          • In that case, I have an admitted character flaw. After years of police work and two wars, I have to be at least somewhat calloused. Sometimes that’s been by choice, sometimes involuntary. I personally don’t see it as a character flaw. I just didn’t expect to see it in you.

            And yes, I do think that short video does in fact show Brown’s character. In my experience, robbery isn’t a one-time aberration in an otherwise peaceful life. The act of robbery is inherently violent. Robberies often turn into murders. I don’t see how a good, decent person would assault and threaten an innocent person in order to steal drug paraphernalia (which is what Swisher Sweets are). To me, a robbery is a major indication of character. Maybe Brown wouldn’t have always had that character, but he certainly seems to have had it then.

            Regarding the “cheap shot”, I didn’t see it that way. I didn’t understand how you could insist the clerk seemed unafraid and that that somehow affected the reality of Brown’s actions (it objectively doesn’t). So I made a comparison I thought you would understand.

            And by the way, Wilson did not have to be “terrified” to resort to deadly force. He simply had to recognize the threat Brown presented. I was nearly shot several times in Afghanistan. I was never terrified, but I did recognize that my life was in danger.

          • Chris, you’re still not grasping what I’m trying to say, so I’m gonna just stop trying after this. But for added clarity, your insistence that I’m taking a “not a big deal” attitude toward the feelings of the store clerk, is dead wrong. You’ve not got it in your head that I believe something I don’t about the robbery and nothing I say will convince you that I don’t believe it was “no big deal.”

            I’m truly sorry I can’t make myself understood here. Maybe my responses are too long and complicated—but for whatever reason, I can’t seem to get you to speak to the actual questions I’m raising or the points I’m trying to make. You’re going all around the perimeter without getting anywhere near the actual issue which is, in part, that if any of us was judged on our worst moments, we would be horrified. Moments in which we were mean, or angry, or prideful, or reacted to being confronted with a wrong by lashing out. Moments in which we lied, or stole and justified our actions in some way.

            I’m a person of faith, and I understand that many people think that’s irrational and anachronistic. Perhaps you’re one of them. But in my experience the Golden Rule—to do treat others as you would have them treat you—is the best operating principle I’ve ever experienced in life. I feel it’s no coincidence that it has existed in revealed religion since the dawn of time. For me to judge Mike Brown by that video is to break that “eternal commandment”. It also essentially distills Mike Brown’s life down to that moment and to invalidate any good in it. It suggests that he wasn’t worthy of love—his parents’ and friends’ or God’s.

            I would be horrified if someone applied that same judgement to my life. I suspect you would be, too, if someone looked at your life as captured in a moment of rage. I hope that never happens to you and that the people you encounter will always treat you as a complete human being and not define you by your weaknesses and faults.

          • 24 Alex

            Maya,

            Chris may not call your character into question, but I will. You want to know why Michael Brown was shot? Because of people like you. People who know nothing about violence or criminals. People who know nothing about the baseness of parts of humanity. People with precisely zero experience dealing with these parts, much less on a daily basis. For years.

            Micheal Brown was killed because people like you see them as lost tragic souls for whom no one has any real understanding, whereas the people who become police do so because they want to be bullies with official authorization to use force. You think of perpetrators as victims, the victims as at least somewhat deserving if not outright so, and the police as the real criminals. You’ve inverted and perverted the meaning of civil society. You denigrate virtue and lionize the flawed.

            You, Maya, and people like you, who make excuses and rationalize the violence of the Michael Browns in this world, as well as go to great lengths to protect them from the nasty police, are responsible for the death of Michael Brown. You, Maya, who lift up the baseness of criminality as the authentic human experience, while the police represent “the man” oppressing the authentic human experience, have no understanding of what civilization is, nor what it means to build and safe guard it. In your ignorance, which you mistakenly believe to be the correct moral stance, you are tearing down civilization by demanding the police keep you safe, but as long as they don’t hurt anyone in the process.

            You harp of on the attitudes of the cops, blaming them for being “jaded and cynical about other human beings”, when it is clear the blame for that jade and cynicism lies with other human beings, namely people like Michael Brown, an obvious predator, with no regard or value for other people’s lives, nor livelihoods. You want the cops, in fact insist, that they deal with the icky on-goings of society, so you don’t have to, then are shocked to find out that cops are real people, with real emotions, who are actually affected by the terrible actions taken by other human beings.

            I do thank you, though, for your comments. Your pettiness and immaturity, which are immense, shine through and are captured in public for all to see. You have a coarse, shallow soul. I would have pity on you, but that’d just make you feel even more self-righteous and more certain that your brand of pettiness and immaturity is the way to go.

          • Wow. How much courage it must take to lay into someone you don’t even know with that much anger and loathing. I had no idea I was coarse and shallow. Most people who know me, including my son, who shares your name, think of me as loving, kind, and fairly thoughtful about life’s situations.

            Despite your hateful words, I can honestly say I have absolutely no hostility to give back. In fact, I’ve heard worse—and spoken to my face, loudly. If I were to blow up at someone like you just did, how would I want to be treated?

            I’ll try Buddha’s method: You have offered me your give of abuse. I decline to accept it. You may keep it for yourself.

      • 26 Paul Suhr

        “And by the way, Wilson did not have to be ‘terrified’ to resort to deadly force.”

        Do you honestly think you have any credibility when you claim it’s reasonable and acceptable for a man to put six bullets in another human being without being terrified?

        I applaud Maya for coming on here and calling out your sad BS. I bet you just couldn’t wait for this day, when you could finally feel better about yourself again. Sorry.

        @Alex Get off your high horse and go back to your cell, Col. Jessup. We all know who you are.

        • One of my favorite things about being a writer is encountering people who give passionate opinions about things they clearly don’t understand.

          No, you don’t have to be terrified to put six bullets into another human being. In fact, being terrified is exactly what you don’t want to happen when you’re in a lethal force encounter. All the tactical training for police and military is geared toward removing that “terror”. Terrified people make bad tactical decisions. People with a sober assessment and understanding of the danger they’re facing tend to make better tactical decisions. I’ve been in plenty of situations where I was in immediate, lethal danger. I’ve never been terrified by it. I doubt Wilson was terrified either; he had been assaulted by a very large, aggressive suspect who ran away and then came back at him. He fired until there was no further threat. That doesn’t require “terror”, it just requires an understanding of the danger he faced.

    • 28 CR Newman

      Maya, you are out of touch. MB was violent, he liked to push his weight around and was threatening. He portrayed an attitude that he could do what he wanted and no one was going to stop him. Arrogance and ignorance, violence and ignorance got him killed. Unfortunately by a police office who saw him as an immediate threat to himself and the rest of society. Has no one else watched the video from the store? Is living in peace no more valuable than the cost of cigarettes? Everyone deserves the right to live in peace. He stole more than peace. He stole someone’s dignity, sense of security, peace and livelihood. Those change peoples lives so stop comparing the monetary value of what he stole in the context of his death. I am glad this world has one less of this type of person. The type to bully, steal and threaten and take what they think is theirs because they feel entitled.

      • CR, your comment epitomizes the problem with situations like this. There are no facts in it. You use strong adjectives to describe a man you know only from a brief video. And back them up with a series of unsubstantiated assertions and hyperbole. (Mike Brown wasn’t just an immediate threat to a policeman, no, hew was a threat to the entire rest of society.)

        And yes, I watched that video repeatedly. He didn’t take cigarettes—he got caught shoplifting cigars or cigarillos, according to every account I’ve read. The shop keeper tried to physically stop him from going out the door (just telling him there was a security cam might have been more effective) and Brown shoved him aside. It may be significant that the clerk didn’t think enough of the incident to phone it in. In any event, those are the facts of what the video shows, but neither of us know that Mike Brown’s whole reality was caught in that video. You’re extrapolating a human being’s entire existence from a clip of him at what is undeniably one of his worst moments. But he didn’t deserve to die for that moment of stupidity, any more than you deserve to die for yours or I for mine.

        I understand why you feel the need to judge him so harshly. The alternative is unpleasant and less simple. And if you are guilty of judging someone out of hand, it would b rational to fear what that says about your own character. You know you’re not a bad person who would judge unfairly, ergo, Mike Brown must have been bad and your judgment of him and pleasure at his death valid. It also uncomplicated the situation immensely and doesn’t require us to consider that both Brown and Wilson might have made mistakes that led to death.

        But what if you’re wrong? What if Mike Brown was just a teenager who did something stupid and criminal (shoplifting is an unfortunately common misdemeanor) and knowing something the policeman didn’t—that he’d stolen the cigars—reacted with fear, embarrassment, and/or anger. Or even just adrenaline pumped fear.

        If you’ve never had a rush of fear and anger that made you lash out at someone as Mike Brown did at the clerk, then you are a better person than 99 percent of those living on this planet. Parents teach that behavior daily when they react to a child’s behavior by shouting, or by hitting.

        As Christ said, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”

        Ultimately, your take on this comes down to who you want to believe, given two competing stories. I hope that the ongoing investigation will clarify things for everyone.

        • 30 Mike

          Jesus Maya, stop twisting the facts. MB committed a violent crime. It’s not shoplifting no matter how much you try to explain it away.

          Even if the officer didn’t know about it, MB sure did. If the officer’s version is correct, it was justified to shoot. Have you ever tried to arrest a violent 300lb man?

          • The name is just Maya.

            I watched the video. It doesn’t surprise me that you see it differently than I do, but he didn’t rob the store at gunpoint, or the point of a knife. He didn’t beat the clerk up to get the cigars. He took them from the counter and tried to leave the shop without paying for them. That’s shoplifting.

            Again, the clerk didn’t even call 911. Someone else did.

            Shoplifting is one of the most common crimes. It is a misdemeanor, not a felony and it is committed by people of all genders, sizes, and colors. It is especially common among young females—even wealthy ones. I’ve seen security footage of white teens of both genders getting caught shoplifting. They behave pretty much the same way that Mike Brown did—trying to push past security and escape. For some reason, they are not labeled as violent felons that society would be better off without.

            My daughter fears spiders. She reacts to big spiders as if they are dangerous even though she knows, rationally, that they’re not. It seems that Mike Brown’s size arouses the same response in people that a big wolf spider might.

            I read a story yesterday about an unarmed US Marshall who took down an assailant—chasing him down and kicking him in the groin before punching him out. She injured her pinkie in the process.

            Perhaps the difference is that she was less afraid of her attacker than you are of men like Mike Brown or my daughter is of wolf spiders. That fear is yours. Consider this: if the store clerk had been as fearful of Mike Brown as you are, do you think he would have tried to stop him from leaving with the cigars?

          • Maya,

            I addressed this in my first essay about the Ferguson shooting. Brown did not “shoplift”. He committed a robbery. That’s not a matter of opinion, or “seeing it differently”. Theft plus force equals robbery. You do not need a weapon or have to cause injury to commit robbery, you just have to use force or the threat of force while committing theft. That’s the legal definition.

            Earlier you commented that the store owner apparently wasn’t bothered enough to even call the police, so the crime couldn’t have been that bad. I was actually really surprised at how callous and insensitive that comment was. If a woman gets the crap beaten out of her by her husband but doesn’t call the police (most don’t), I guess the beating didn’t bother them too much? Or if a woman is raped but never reports it (most don’t), I guess they didn’t mind being raped?

            People don’t report being victimized for a variety of reasons. This clerk may have thought he’d be retaliated against for reporting it, or he may have been so used to being robbed he didn’t think it was worth reporting. Plenty of victims have what they think are valid reasons not to report crimes committed against them. That doesn’t mean the crime wasn’t serious.

          • 33 msw

            Mike, you nailed it like a laser that Maya has twisted the facts throughout her posts and CH deserves kudos for attempts to get her back to the facts, that fails as she dismisses the law. Thank God everyone is entitled to their own opinion but also thank God that everyone is NOT entitled to their own set of facts. It’s termed STRONG ARMED ROBBERY. period. If MB had weighed 120 lbs and the clerk weighed 300 lbs and MB did the same thing, it would STILL be strong armed robbery. period. My goodness, get past that! And one more thing. Had MB stopped in his tracks when confronted by the officer, he would be alive today, do his time for the crime, and get on with his life. Unfortunately for MB, he made the biggest mistake in his life when he didn’t stop.

          • 34 Jack C.

            Her other comment about having no fear of black men puts this all in context. She lives in a politically-correct Utopian fantasy. As a woman, you’d think black misogyny would at least be on her radar, but she acts like only white guys are rude or dangerous. It’s utter nonsense.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misogyny_in_hip_hop_culture

            I wonder what neighborhoods she’s actually walked in? A few random blacks in a nice area is not representative of what the police deal with. There’s rampant black violence in Chicago, Baltimore, D.C., Detroit, Oakland, etc. Any time you have large numbers of blacks in an area (mainly young black men) the crime rate is high. It’s just a fact.

          • Jack, I live in San Jose. The street I live on has a black family, three Hispanic families, a Vietnamese family and one other Caucasian family besides my own. We moved here from what the State Police refer to as a white enclave; our kids were thrilled to live in a multiracial environment. Two of my dearest friends and fellow Baha’is are black men. One is a police officer. We’re going to be giving a series of studies together on the subject of race unity in the near future.

            You keep making all these wild assumptions about me that are so far off the mark, it’s funny. Let me repeat: The reason I have never been afraid of a black man whether I was walking in the Tenderloin or Manhattan is again, because none of them acted toward me in a way I found threatening. They offered me no insult, though several of them did flirt with me. Several of them were funny, and kind, and interesting. The only men I have ever had reason to fear were white. That’s not living in utopia, that’s just my personal experience. I’m sorry it doesn’t tally with your dystopian view of the world or of black people.

            It isn’t skin color that determines criminality. It’s environment. Where people are living in crushing poverty and despair, with little or no opportunity for education, or work, or even decent food, some of them are going to believe that fighting for resources or turf is the only way to survive. One of the things that helps break this cycle is education—specifically in well-integrated schools with good teachers and access to resources. In our area we have schools that are quite wealthy and whose kids have every advantage. My daughter is a freshman at one of the poorer schools in the South Bay. Over 70% of the kids are on school lunch programs. The school also has an award winning marching band which is why my daughter chose to go there. She’s one of a minority population of Caucasian kids. Race is not an issue to her; her friends come in all colors.

            A block from our house is a tree under which neighbors build a makeshift shrine every year to commemorate a man who was shot there. Its across from the 7-11 where my daughter and her buddies go after school for snacks. Three blocks over on the other side of the neighborhood, some guy murdered his wife last year. Men in vans try to pick up school girls; we get one of those alarms at least once a year. Both of the electricians in our cul-de-sac had their vans broken into and equipment stolen several years ago. My next-door neighbor, Alberto, said it was the first time it’s happened in the 30 years he’s lived here. There are gangs in the area as well, though they’ve been quiet recently. Kids are still not allowed to wear red or blue to the local elementary and middle schools, though, because those were gang colors. There’s a homeless encampment just down the road.

            These things don’t happen here because of skin color. They happen because it’s a poor neighborhood. The gangs exist because people feel a need to have a tribe to belong to. I belong to a number of different tribes, but they’re tribes that don’t define themselves by who they’re against. When that is how most people feel about their tribes, we’ll be closer to having real justice. For now, we’ll just have to keep evolving.

            So, here’s to our eventual evolution into real human beings.

          • 36 Jack C.

            Maya, if there’s an area we might agree on, it’s situations where truly innocent pets are shot by police as a “precautionary” measure. Somehow that bugs me a lot more than combative humans taking hits, black, white, brown, red or yellow. People at least know that the situation could turn ugly. Animals can’t conceive of what a gun does until it’s too late.

            Black family’s St. Bernard is shot by police (happens to white families also).

            http://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/502745/police-who-shoot-and-kill-dogs/

            I can see elements of that in the treatment of some blacks by truly racist cops, but if someone wants to stay alive, they need to be humble around the police whether they like it or not. Comply now, protest later!

          • I’m glad you’re a champion for innocent animals; I just wish you were as avid a champion for innocent humans whose skin color does not match your own.

            I’d argue that even if someone sasses a police officer or, out of confusion or fear doesn’t obey whatever orders are being shouted at them does not deserve to be shot. But, let’s set those cases in which the citizen was demonstrably combative aside. You seem unable to process or acknowledge that innocent, non-combative people are shot by police far too often. Remember, the cases that make national news are just the ones that are high profile enough to come to national attention. The DOJ keeps no comprehensive database or record of police shootings. There are more than 17,000 law enforcement agencies that self-report officer-involved shootings. Some do not document or report. Of the departments that DO report, the annual average is about 750 shootings.

            Again, John Crawford was not combative, Levar Jones, not combative, Keith Scott, not combative; Walter Scott, not combative; Akai Gurley, not combative; Philando Castile, depends on whom you ask; Terrence Crutcher, video indicates not combative, officer says don’t trust your eyes; Charles Kinsey, not combative…..

            Many others were uncooperative, but not combative. They may have run, or been slow to obey. There are also any number of instances in which police officers charge people with resisting arrest when videos show that it was the cop’s manhandling of the individual that caused them to “pull away”. I’ve seen videos in which the cop’s roughing up of the person caused them to “pull away” because they lost their balance and fell or slapped at the cop because the cop stuck his hands in their face. Last year in Texas, a pair of cops arrested a black woman driving a maroon sedan with her two children in it because her plates partially matched those of a tan vehicle with four black men in it. They cuffed her in front of her kids and pulled guns on her and on her son who got out of the car (he was about 7 or 8 by the way). These are the sorts of instances that cast doubt on our police departments.

            These aren’t animals; they’re human beings just like you and me, who deserve respect and to be considered innocent until proven otherwise. This is not a problem that we civilians can solve without help from our police at the individual and institutional level. Just being polite won’t necessarily save a black man from being harmed by police. Compliance won’t. Many of these folks don’t ask for what happens to them. They did not engage with police voluntarily. Someone thought they looked suspicious (like the black gentleman who was out for a morning walk in his own neighborhood and was reported by several neighbors. He was lucky, The officer who initially grilled him about what he was doing here, quickly realized that prejudice had been the real culprit and apologized and moved on. That doesn’t always happen.

            Do you think you might acknowledge that sometimes police put innocent citizens in these fraught situations because they make a choice to do so and that this should not happen?

        • 38 Jack C.

          You’re an intellectual coalburner, if not an actual one. Go walk down the streets in Detroit, Compton, Baltimore, Oakland or bad parts of D.C, just to name a few places, and see how far politically-correctness gets you. Anyone can write a bunch of abstract excuses but in the real world those people are unruly and dangerous.

          https://www.google.com/search?&q=black+crime+rates+per+capita

          Of course, you’ll try to explain away those high arrest/incarceration rates as police unfairness. It’s a conspiracy theory, so you get off the hook for ever having tor prove it.

          • I don’t do political correctness. I do, however, believe in justice and compassion and respect for other human beings. I believe in not prejudging people because of the color of their skin or the neighborhood they live in or their social class.

            You keep telling me I need to walk through bad neighborhoods to get at real life. I told you I had. That’s not a ‘broad brush denial’, sweetie, it’s my experience. I’ve walked through bad neighborhoods in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, down town Boston, Chicago, Baltimore and Los Angeles. I’ve also been in poor neighborhoods in Omaha. I’ve also been around black airmen on the air force base where my dad served.

            You keep trying to compare the US to Africa. There’s no comparison. Are you doing that because you believe there are racial differences that make blacks inherently more violent than whites? If so, you’re dead wrong. The differentiating factors are poverty and want. Violence is demonstrably higher among impoverished people regardless of the color of their skin.

            You are not reading what I’m saying Jack. You just aren’t, or you wouldn’t keep insisting that I’m saying all blacks are good. But neither am I saying they’re all violent and thugs as you repeatedly assert.

            Do you not agree that when a LEO wrongfully harms an innocent black or Hispanic or white or any other color of humanity, they should be held accountable for it? Do you not believe that justice should be color blind? That’s all I’m saying. That’s hardly political correctness; it’s simply a plea for equality before the law.

            Yes, police do accost (pull over, detain, question) blacks at far higher rates than they do whites. This is well-documented. Oddly, though they pull blacks over for drugs more often than whites, they end up finding drugs more often on whites. In other words, there is prejudicial behavior. Philando Castile had been pulled over in his neighborhood in excess of 40 times over the years for nickel and dime violations, most of which were dropped.

            Here’s why that’s important: Men like Philando Castile are shot because they react during these encounters in ways police find threatening (Castile’s girlfriend stated that he told the cop he was armed and had a carry permit and was reaching for the permit when he was shot). Given how many times he was pulled over, you’d think he’d be very careful. His girlfriend said he was being careful. You’d also think after all those encountered the cops would know he was just a nice guy who worked at a local school. I know you think he was just a black thug, but he was more than that to the people who loved him and the kids at his school. He was a person with as much right to be treated with respect and fairness as you or I.

            So, bottom line: no I’m not saying all black men are good just because they’re black. Are you saying they’re all thugs for that reason and that none has ever been done an injustice?

            Thank you, by the way, for conceding the argument, which you did when you stooped to calling me names instead of actually hearing what I said.

          • 40 Jack C.

            If you don’t think nearly all blacks are good (which you keep contradicting by saying whites scare you more, and claiming you’ve walked in truly dangerous black neighborhoods) why is it so hard to admit that the blacks who DO tangle with cops are invariably thugs? You’re going around in circles trying to have it both ways. You have an obvious pro-black bias and keep lying about the prevalence of dangerous black guys.

            You defend strawman “good” black people by selectively finding cases where harm comes to the less thuggy ones, or unlucky ones via police. But that happens to all races! In other words, you’re adding a lot more racism to the equation than actually exists, while ignoring personal BEHAVIOR as the main factor.

            Purely racist attacks on blacks tend to be obvious, like old lynchings, KKK activities, etc. Mixing the police into that scenario is unfair to the police in most cases. It stirs the pot of general unease, yet you let black agitators off the hook because they’re oppressed, historically.

            There’s a vicious cycle where police are more on edge because Black Lives Matter instigates random assassinations and brutality claims. Blacks are hyping up a situation of their own creation. The prevalence of cameras and social media is making it seem like blacks are suddenly under a new assault, so they’re eroding the general ability to feel safe around the police. You claim to understand human psychology and should know that police aren’t robots and will react to mindless taunts.

            Thug puts himself and cop at risk: https://youtu.be/Nek2sSn3-gk

            The above video shows a black kid putting himself at unnecessary risk while a cop tries to arrest him and has no idea whether his gun will be grabbed, etc. He and his cohorts yell “black lives matter!” and play the victim, as if there was no need to get him off that street. Look at the level of rudeness toward the police. Just because blacks haven’t done that to YOU doesn’t mean it’s nonexistent! The shallowness of his cause is obvious, but if he’d been shot he’d be one more thug martyr. Can’t you see the vicious cycle these people create?

            Many blacks have trouble assimilating into modern societies due to their lack of impulse control and naturally loose behavior (structure doesn’t suit them) so they turn to crime, get arrested, resist arrest and get shot more often because of it. They are anarchists, like the white guys who took over that wildlife refuge in Oregon, but for different reasons. Slavery and all the rest is a separate issue. Thuggy blacks want the bling of American society but not the responsible behavior it requires. If the whole country was run by those people you’d lose the luxury of saying how wonderful they are at a distance.

            Here’s another video of a thug martyr fighting da PO-lice, with black cops in on it. Are they also racist for trying to control violent thugs?

      • 41 Jack C.

        There’s no way to debate the terminally naive. She might find religion in a situation where her life was threatened and she either had a lethal weapon or wished she did. A lot of women want to see the best in people no matter what, at least if said people fall into the societal category of victims vs. oppressors. That can be a good trait to help troubled kids with potential, but it’s very risky when they are beyond helping, like those who resist arrest. The evidence is out there for anyone to see instantly.

        https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=man+resisting+arrest

        Some women live for years with guys who routinely beat them up, so that’s also a denial factor. They have a “bad boys are just misunderstood” complex. Women who respect beater thugs like singer Chris Brown (and countless rappers) are too numerous to count. They don’t seem to understand what’s really behind the violence and how it can play out fatally. Until they die and people yap about how it could have been prevented. Abolish politically-correct naivety, that’s how!

        • Jack has left the planet. Darlin’, I completely understand why you have to make this about me, and mansplain all over the place. I’m sorry you can’t just discuss this without impugning my character. But it’s not about me. It’s about police who overstep the bounds of their authority, who allow their emotions to get the better of them and who end up harming someone who, in some cases, is no danger to them. It’s about power structures and institutionalized prejudice. It’s too complex to be solved by sound bites or simplistic slogans invoking law and order or alleging qualitative differences in ethnic groups.

          For the record, here’s what I’m NOT saying: I’m not defending thugs or “bad boys” and I’m sure not saying that “boys will be boys” is a valid defense of anything. And wow, talk about changing the subject—that really came out of left field. As did the comments about abused women. What are you implying, dear boy?

          Read carefully, please: What I AM saying is that in some situations—enough to make it problematic—police see threat where there is none and they hurt or kill an innocent person. Not a criminal, not a thug, not a bad boy, but someone whose encounter with them should not have resulted in death. Too often this person is black or brown. Studies have suggested that one element in this is that white people have trouble reading black faces. The idea that “they” all look the same has been an historic theme in the misunderstandings between different ethnic groups.

          Please do explain what John Crawford was doing that was thuggish. Or Philando Castile, or Akai Gurley, or Charles Kinsey, or Tamir Rice, or Levar Jones or… the list goes on. Do you even know the circumstances of any of these shootings?

          I’m not talking about people caught in the commission of a crime. Let me make that clear. I’m talking about people whose encounter with the police was not of their own making, but grew out of a policeman’s decision to pull them over for reasons that sometimes do not bear close scrutiny.

          So let’s remove actual thugs and criminals from the equation. There are still too many names on the list of dead and injured. Can we stay on topic?

          • One quick note: I can easily explain the threat Tamir Rice seemed to pose. He was reported to the officers as an adult, he was reported to be pointing a gun at people, he was 5’7″ and 195 pounds and didn’t look like a child, and as soon as the officers drove up he lifted his shirt and grabbed a weapon that looks almost exactly like a real gun. These are all verified facts, not opinions or unverified claims.

            One gigantic issue that most anti-police activists or police reform activists have is that they can’t separate the justified from the reasonable from the unjustified. If you include Tamir Rice as an example of someone posing no perceivable threat, you’ve lost credibility. Same thing with Alton Sterling, and Keith Scott.

          • I think what you’ve underscored, Chris, is the complexity of these issues that people tend to want to break down into simplistic binary statements about it all being the cop’s fault or all being the victim’s fault. If he’d just complied, if he hadn’t done this or that, then…

            But let’s look at the Tamir Rice killing.

            1) There’s the call to the police. Someone saw that kid playing cops and robbers and was concerned enough to call it in. I’ve watched the 30 minute security video several times and the portion where the police car appears more. The person in the video is, to me, unmistakably a kid playing games. People come and go as he plays, never seeming to give him much thought. One guy sits at a picnic table near him with seemingly no concern. Still, someone called the police. So, here, we have a possible error in judgment—but a definite judgment—on the part of a witness. He makes a choice that sets the whole scenario in motion.

            2) The witness was uncertain enough about what he saw to tell the dispatcher that he suspected it was just a kid playing with a toy gun. That information was not passed on to the responding officers. So, here, the dispatcher made a choice about what was important information. This, too, is now demonstrably an error in judgment because it misled the officers and colored their expectations of what they were facing (something this shooting has in common with the John Crawford case.)

            3) One of the responding officers, and the shooter, had such severe emotional problems related to doing his job (specifically with handling firearms) that a reviewer at his previous post said he should not be on the force. Cleveland hired him anyway. A choice and another error in judgment that contributed to the result.

            4) This is the man who interpreted Tamir Rice’s movements as so threatening that he literally popped out of his cruiser firing. The threatening movement is not discernible from the security video, but what is discernible is that the cruiser barrels into the frame and the shooting begins with no time for a verbal warning or a response to same. The cops could have paused at a distance and observed Rice long enough to assess the situation for themselves, but they made a choice not to. Loehmann and his partner made two errors in judgment: 1) Not to assess the situation and 2) not to give the “suspect” a clear warning before opening fire.

            5) After the boy was down, the cops left him there, bleeding. Loehmann ran behind his car so frantically he injured himself. Tamir’s sister ran to her brother’s side and the cops tackled her to the ground, cuffed her and shoved her into a squad car while they dithered and she watched her little brother lie on the ground bleeding out. This choice on the part of the cops goes beyond a mere error in judgment, wouldn’t you agree?

            This is the series of choices and errors that contributed to a boy’s death. If he had been an adult, that same series of errors would have still resulted in an innocent human being dying. To my second point, above, if the dispatcher had relayed the information given her by the caller, the cops responding would not have assumed they were dealing with an adult. But is that germane? Remember, this is an open carry state and if Tamir Rice were an adult and had the gun in his waistband when the cops arrived, he was not doing anything illegal, was he?

            I am not anti-cop. I am pro-justice and pro-compassion. I am also for taking a close look at this type of situation to see where the system and the people who run it can be improved so that before, during, and after the fact, choices and judgments are less likely to lead to catastrophic results.

            But what makes these deaths especially heartbreaking, to me, and to the folks involved in BLM, is the way that so many people show zero compassion for Tamir Rice or his family. It’s as if to make sense of his death, he must be relegated to the status of a non-entity. And that in order to support the police, any suffering on his part or the part of his family must be ignored or worse, ridiculed. It’s easier, I suppose, to believe he was a young thug than to believe that others (including a police dispatcher and two officers) made mistakes that resulted in an innocent’s death and that there is reason for concern and for change.

          • 45 Jack C.

            “Please do explain what John Crawford was doing that was thuggish. Or Philando Castile, or Akai Gurley, or Charles Kinsey, or Tamir Rice, or Levar Jones or… the list goes on. Do you even know the circumstances of any of these shootings?”

            Crawford’s case was a combination of being stupid with a realistic gun, a dumb WalMart employee making the report, and a hasty cop. I saw that whole video once.

            Castile was a ringer for an armed robbery suspect, who’d have had good reason to shoot the police. We didn’t see his attitude on video before he was shot (typical). He was resisting arrest by not complying.

            Gurley was hit by an unfortunate ricochet because cops always fear for their lives. They were sweeping a very dangerous building in that case.

            Kinsey was shot by accident (bad aim). Conspiracy theories say otherwise but it makes no sense to think he shot him on purpose, especially being far out of harm’s way.

            Rice was doing risky stuff and was stupid for having anything that looked like a gun around the police. He was also the size of an older teenager.

            Jones had an edgy cop shoot him prematurely as he reached too quickly into his vehicle. Bad luck, but bad timing on his part.

            Out of all those cases, Crawford, Gurley and Jones were the best examples of cops messing up, though all but Gurley were acting in risky ways. Police are doing a tricky job of trying to NOT kill you while possibility having TO kill you. Criminals overall cause far more problems than police and ought to be the main source of fear. Making it the police’s fault skews reality. If you spent time in a lawless African country you’d be clamoring for more police. Here, you have the luxury of complaining about the predominantly good guys.

            This video was done at least 16 years before the current BLM frenzy and it’s just common sense, framed as humor: https://youtu.be/uj0mtxXEGE8 (Chris Rock – How not to get your ass kicked by the police)

  7. 46 SPEMack

    Ahem, holy fuck.

    As much as I rant and rave about the encroaching militarization of America’s police departments, it’s easy to see upon reading stories such as the above anonymous essay, or your’s Chris, and realize that walking the thin blue line ain’t too terribly different than what I saw in some village in Afghanistan.

    My girlfriend once summarized that it seems the best people in the world are drawn to the worst jobs.

  8. 47 Boyd Kneeland

    This is off topic, apologies for the hijack of a great thread, but if there’s anyone who can help me find the cheese I need it’s you all. Several years ago a major US paper published a study about how lawsuits and legal liability had changed training and operation in major metro departments (and resultantly a bit in rural areas. It discussed the onset of department risk aversion, the need to increase pay in urban centers partly as a result of legal training and requirements of new recruits and IIRC a flight to rural departments by older experienced officers. I think questions of risk, training and policy are at the heart of some of the current controversy.
    I wouldn’t do this, but searching the internet on “police” and “liability” is a total non starter and I couldn’t figure out how to tune it. Boyd Kneeland boyd@seanet.com

  9. 48 Angela

    Some people, usually the ones with arrest records, always blame police officers, regardless of the facts. Thank you for giving us the flip side. I have a great deal of respect for our men and women in blue.

  10. 49 Don Davis

    Chris: Pass along to the author my thanks for his writing the true feeling of the job (difficult as it is to put it out for someone else to see)…. and to you for posting…..

  11. 50 Travis

    This is to be expected when the ‘us vs them’ mentality prevails. Tragic, but not unexpected.
    This is a bit long, but I would hope the author of this essay would spend the required 5 or so minutes necessary to read it.
    http://chuckbaldwinlive.com/Articles/tabid/109/ID/1230/An-Open-Letter-To-My-Friends-In-Law-Enforcement.aspx

  12. This guy needs to find a different line of work.

    The things you see on the job are horrible, but if you can’t separate them from yourself and your personal life and well-being, you are in the wrong line of work.

    Especially if you use those things as an excuse to become jaded, cynical, and angry. When you have a badge, a gun, qualified immunity, a compliant press, and a judicial system that’s going to let you off with a slap on the wrist for all but the most egregious of crimes, you must be held to a higher standard. Police officers have the ability to utterly destroy men’s lives based on one quick decision. Jaded, cynical, and angry should not be anywhere near the adjectives reasonably used to describe such a man.

    My experience with police work lead me to choose another profession for just that reason. I knew that I couldn’t compartmentalize the nasty things I’d be seeing, and decided not to allow my job to turn me into a jaded, cynical, and angry man. I like to think that it would not have reflected on my ability to do the job well, but it sure as hell would have reflected on my ability to be a decent father and husband and person.

    Chris, you display none of those traits in your writing. The person who accused you of being jaded in that comment was projecting, because I didn’t see any of it. You have an opinion, and it’s based on the facts at hand. I don’t think you’ve got anything to worry about. You need to start worrying when you’re using the scene from last week where the Mexican mafia guy abused his kids, as an excuse to treat the next Mexican guy you run into like a choad. Or when your dealings with people from a certain part of the “projects” makes you completely callous to the suffering of those people when one of their kids gets run over by a car.

    In your article, You said “He probably DID do it, based on these things that I saw that lead me to believe that.” That’s just being analytical, and applying your experience to make an informed decision.

    Jaded, cynical, and angry says ”Of course he did it, because people suck!”

  13. 52 Jason

    wow… powerful and heartbreaking. I don’t know how they do it. My 2nd child fell very ill 2 weeks after her birth and stopped breathing. An off-duty officer was off was in the area and heard the call and was first on scene. He immediately took over CPR for me for until a paramedic unit came.

    My daughter spent her next 2 months in critical care, the first 2-3 weeks the doctors met with us daily and told us be prepared for bad news. She thankfully is still with us and quite the happy little girl and everyone loves her although there have been complications from her arrest.

    I know in my heart if that Officer was not there, she would not still be with us now. We actually have some friends in common and reached out to him to let him know how thankful we were. He was happy to hear how she was doing but to my dismay, we also found out he had left the force not long after he saved my daughter’s life. He said that it just hit him too close to home as he had a daughter of his own and he could not get the thought that we almost lost ours out of his head.

    My heart sunk hearing this news. I feel selfish knowing that because of what he did for our family that day, that he probably will never be the same and that others would not receive the same blessing/gift he gave to us.

    Our family is forever grateful for those of you who so readily put yourselves in harms way to protect and serve, not just physically but emotionally as well. Thank you for all you do. Our lives and world would never be the same without you!

  14. 53 Paul Suhr

    Dear Mr. Anonymous,

    You do not carry my weight. Not now, not ever.

    You should also consider a different line of work. I don’t think law enforcement is for you.

    Sincerely,

    Paul

  15. 54 Les Fox

    To Maya:

    If Michael Brown wasn’t a 300 lb thug, he would have been using a knife or gun to get away with his behavior. He was using his SIZE as a weapon, as many big thugs do. Just like facing a gun, facing a giant violent person is almost as threatening to the victim.

    Also marijuana when used excessively can and often does lead to violent behavior by the user. It can induce psychotic behavior. It is usually classed as a peaceful drug, but add into the mix that MB may have been into all the other drugs like meth for instance and along with ghetto thug mentality – you can draw some other conclusions as well.

    It is a myth that all marijuana users are peaceful. Drug use can produce a lot of unpredictable results. Read this fact sheet:

    http://adai.washington.edu/marijuana/factsheets/aggression.htm

    Let’s not forget that if MB had put his hands in the air and surrendered to the arrest, we wouldn’t be discussing this right now. Let’s also look also at MB’s contribution to this shooting. He came from a bad area. Anyone from these places knows that if a cop pulls his gun and points it at you, you better pay attention, because he really isn’t playing with you anymore. He wants to go home in one piece too. Remember, you are also legally obliged to obey a police officer’s lawful directions. Any other stuff you want to argue needs to be argued in the courtroom.

    A cop really never pulls his gun and shoots someone because he is getting annoyed with them, They know the level of fallout involved and it is never worth it for them on that basis. They have to demonstrate a legal reason for both pulling and using that firearm.

    On the other subject, I don’t think law enforcement is for anybody. Unless you are a sociopath with zero feelings or empathy for others, you’re definitely going to be affected by some the things you get to see.

    Sociopaths would not make acceptable police officers either.

  16. 56 Mike

    So serious question: how common/universal are these experiences for cops?

    I read in the self-defense and police training blogs how most cops will never fire their weapon. I watch the police reports for my hometown and rarely see even a death in a traffic accident.

    Are these things that accumulate slowly over a career, but just stick with you that hard? (it only takes seeing those little girls once, I’m sure) Or is it part of being on specific assignments?

    Is it more along the lines of “it’s common enough that we all know someone it happened to,” even if your personal chance of it happening isn’t that high?

    • I can only give you my personal experience with it. I’ve worked for a ten-man PD, a 23-man PD, a huge city PD and the UN Police Mission in Kosovo. I’ve dealt with numerous murders, assaults, shootings, stabbings, child abuse cases, had to be nice to a guy who had just murdered an off-duty cop in a robbery, spent over a year trying to track down a suspect who brutally raped his best friend’s wife, had to walk away from a child who was being emotionally abused and terrified by mom’s boyfriend (boyfriend wasn’t physically abusing the boy and mom wouldn’t make boyfriend stop, so nothing we could do), unexpectedly encountered a two-year-old’s head in the back seat of a car, arrested a murderess who probably ate a piece of her victim’s brain after I arrested her, chased down, fought and arrested an allegedly HIV-positive capital murderer, went with other officers to notify a family that their son had murdered his wife, run from police and committed suicide, and so on. My experiences aren’t so unusual. Everyone I’ve worked with who spent any significant amount of time on street patrol has had insane experiences as a cop. There are some PDs where they don’t deal with much, and there are Mayberry-like towns with little to no crime, but in general any street cop is going to deal with a lot of bad stuff if he spend at least five years on the street.

      Again, that’s just my opinion though. Hope that answers your question, and sorry for the delayed response.

  17. 58 R Cranium

    Cops see the worst of humanity. But, it’s still your job to follow the law. One bad apple theory has been proven wrong. The everyday public is now cognizant of this. Change is coming. I’d rather it be a proactive process on both sides.

  18. 59 Kirk

    First I wish to comment on the officer who wrote of his experiences. Each one is heartrending and horrific and each is described in graphic detail making the telling more personal and real.

    My question to law enforcement personnel is this: Have there been an increased amount of such happenings? Or would such incidents have normally occurred at roughly the same rates at times in the past as in the 1990s, 1950s, 1900s and even earlier (assuming wagons that occasionally ran someone over were just as horrific as a car causing the damage, etc.)? Have people grown angrier? Could there be cultural reasons for this?

    And it’s also well known that soldiers experience similar realistic incidents while fighting in battle, producing PTSD. The officer’s description of incidents that he personally lived through, still vividly remembers, and is shaken by them suggests that PTSD is also quite applicable to them.

  19. 60 Jack C.

    I recommend listening to Sam Harris talking about Ferguson on the Joe Rogan podcast (2014). He intelligently makes the point that police must treat everyone as a potential threat and people are very stupid to agitate the situation. They need to think and put themselves on the other side of the badge. Police actually show remarkable restraint most of the time. Any time a gun is present (including their own) the police know things can escalate for that very reason. If you think the police were truly out of line, sue later, but comply in the moment for your own safety!

    • That sounds like great advice, but there have been too many cases in which the person shot was shot while complying. In several cases (such as the shooting of Levar Jones in South Carolina last year or the young man shot in front of a big box store in Nevada) the victim was taking the exact action the cop had just asked them to take.

      Levar Jones was shot while complying with the command to show his driver’s license, which was in the car he had just gotten out of. The amazing thing about the video of this encounter was that Mr. Jones was polite to the officer even after he was shot, asking “why did you shoot me, sir?” as he was lying on the ground writhing in pain.

      In the other case I mention, the young man—who was white—was following the command to drop the gun he had tucked into his waistband.

      Here’s the problem: when a nervous cop demands someone do something, they’re not always taking into account that compliance looks identical to non-compliance. Reaching for a gun to drop it or reaching for it to shoot the officer looks the same. Reaching for your wallet, or reaching for a gun you may have in your vehicle, ditto.

      Consider the case of Philando Castille, who told the cop he had a weapon and a license to carry it and reached for his wallet to show the permit. He didn’t need to tell the cop he was armed, nor did he legally have to show his carry permit. The cop shot him to death because the benign act of reaching for his permit looked the same as reaching for a weapon.

      I’ve thought a lot about what I would do if an officer pulled me over and asked to see my license. I would (hopefully) say, “My license is in my iPhone case which is in my purse. May I put the purse where you can see it?” If he said “yes”, I would, without breaking eye contact, reach one hand to drag my purse onto my lap. I keep it open in the car, so my phone case should be visible at this point. I would then ask, “May I reach into the purse to get the phone case?” I assume the answer would be yes. If it was, I’d carefully take out the phone case and extract my license. If it’s no, I would ask “what do you want me to do?”

      My registration, which is in the glove box is more problematic. If he asks for that, I may be screwed. I’ll have to take my eyes off him and I’ll have to reach into an area of my car he cannot see. There is a point at which my only recourse is to pray that I don’t seem threatening in some way or that some move I make will not be interpreted as threatening.

      Here’s the thing—I’m a white woman of a certain age, and I’m nervous. If I were a young black man, I suspect there is a point past which nothing I do will keep me from getting shot. I’m stopped and an officer asks me for my ID; I reach for my pocket or I turn away and reach into the center console of my car. If I’m lucky, he orders me to freeze and I do so in time and he realizes that we are in a catch-22—I cannot comply with his order without making a threatening move.

      Do you see how compliance is not the entire answer? Everyone stopped by a police officer needs to be not just compliant, but needs to foresee and account for what they look like to the cop. How many people have the presence of mind to do that?

      Now, I would propose that cops also need to be aware of what their commands sound like to their subject and they need to be aware of what compliance will look like. It might alter the way they give orders. If the officer who shot the young man after demanding that he drop his gun had been more self-aware, he might have instead ordered him to put his hands on top of his head and had another officer retrieve the weapon. Or he might have ordered him to lie facedown on the ground with his hands out from his body and had someone retrieve the weapon.

      What we need here is not just self-awareness on the part of police, but an ability to empathize with the subject of their orders, who may be surprised, thrown off balance (sometimes literally) and even terrified. I think that’s more reasonable than expecting citizens to enter into every unexpected encounter with police thinking of ways not to get shot.

      • 62 Jack C.

        Well, you can always cite random cases where “a series of unfortunate events” happened, but I think there are four major factors in the so-called recent rash of blacks getting shot by police.

        1) More cameras on more devices are recording incidents these days, in addition to more videos from police themselves.

        2) There’s more social media to post those videos on, causing local incidents (happening all along) to go globally viral. Typically when such videos are posted, they lack objectivity, only showing the “police brutality” segments. The missing context is often left out on purpose, like the Rodney King incident which made him into a victim vs. someone who was fighting with the police and could have killed them. Cops can’t take that chance, even if some of them slip up and go too far on the offensive. Armchair quarterbacks act like cops are robots who should be calm at all times in life-threatening situations; it’s absurdly naive. When you feel like some thug is about to kill you, official protocol can vanish, and no amount of insurance or political-correctness will protect the resistor.

        3) The media keeps reporting the incidents as part of a trend, even though it may not be a real trend at all. They need to stop headlining those cases, i.e. feeding the fire. It’s a vicious cycle.

        4) Blacks are often more “excitable” than whites and give the impression of pending danger, in addition to typically being athletic and quicker than whites. This can’t help but make cops more edgy around blacks. I lived around such people for 6 months and it made me into a “racist” because they were constantly causing hassles with noise and illegal parking. There are distinct personality traits and ways of talking (gangsta rap mumbling) that make blacks seem more prone to sudden violence, which they commonly inflict on their own people.

        It’s easy to say that’s not always true, and that other races can be violent, but it distracts from common observations. Different races are almost different species, behaviorally, and you can’t expect them to not be wary of each other.

        I would suggest watching a famous segment of Chris Rock’s 1996 HBO special, “Bring the Pain,” which many civilized blacks agree with. There are too many thug martyrs clouding this whole debate. Invariably they’re resisting arrest in one way or another, and they need to comply and vent later. Unless being martyrs is their goal.

        • You wrote: “Different races are almost different species, behaviorally, and you can’t expect them to not be wary of each other.”

          No, we are not “almost” different species. What we are is tribal. In another comment you referenced the Hutus and Tutsis of Rwanda. To you, they’re just blacks killing each other inexplicably. Do you know anything about how white immigrants to this country (USA) were treated by other white ethnic groups? Are you aware of the wretched things the folks already here said about the Irish, the Germans, the Poles and others when they flooded into the country fleeing violence at home? My father’s family was part of the Polish influx just prior to the Russian Revolution. He was a first generation Polish-American and told me of his firsthand experience with white-on-white bigotry—getting beat up and bullied by other white kids who were from different tribes.

          Here’s the reality: Humanity is one family. Or, as Bahá’í scripture puts it: “All men are of one family; the crown of humanity rests on the head of every human being.” Religion has told us this for eons. Science confirmed it in 1996 through the human genome project. The color of our skin is a long-term adaptation to environmental conditions. A white and black man living next-door to each other in this country have less genetic diversity between them than two black people living in Rwanda.

          What influences our behavior is also environmental and educational. Ignorance and prejudice is not determined by skin color. And both are destructive to the foundations of human society.

          • 64 Jack C.

            Sure, change the subject to white on white violence, which nobody is denying, but it tends to be a different type of violence, not as spontaneous.
            The whole theme of BLM is that random black people are being unfairly targeted with deadly force, which is false. They make exceptions seem like rules. But I know “racial” profiling goes on, since blacks have much higher per-capita crime rate. It should be called “likely criminal” profiling. They just tend to look like hoods and drive certain cars. You get treated based on appearances. “Square” looking blacks don’t get hassled nearly as much.

            I can’t get through a wall of naivety about longstanding racial behavioral differences, but I can ask you to watch this video as a random example of what police deal with.

            https://youtu.be/0-WQsNOQQF4 “Bodycam: Officers Deal With Belligerent Man.”

            At any moment, a guy like that could pull a gun on them, and he’s an older guy, not physically as quick as some. That’s on the PoliceCenter channel, a great way to see what really goes on before some thug edits the context out of a video. The section after the 13:50 mark is what thug-sympathizers would typically post, ignoring the wall of belligerence that came before. Do you understand why context matters so much? The woman shrieking at the police could have easily shot them, too. They show HUGE restraint 99.9% of the time, so why portray it as some epidemic of anti-black shootings? How quickly you’ve probably forgotten the officers assassinated in Dallas, of various similar cases in the past year. Police are NOT going around randomly shooting harmless blacks.

            Also, do a general YouTube search for: police (or cops) under attack

            https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=police+under+attack

            If you watch some of those incidents and still don’t understand why resisting arrest is the real problem (not “innocent” blacks getting picked on) I’ve got nothing to add.

            P.S. Try walking alone in a rough area at night and pretend you’re a cop who’s duty-obliged to take care of whatever situation he/she encounters without the option to just run and hide. Their context is much different than someone who’s able to watch it on TV and be an armchair quarterback.

          • First, you changed the subject from police on citizen violence to black-on-black violence, which is a different issue. I merely made the point that there is also white-on-white violence, which is no less deadly.

            You wrote: “The whole theme of BLM is that random black people are being unfairly targeted with deadly force, which is false.”

            Actually, they’re saying it’s not “random.” They’re saying it happens because of an ingrained and sometimes institutionalized prejudice that results in non-violent and often unarmed people of color being put in a situation that endangers them that would not have happened had they been white because the cops would have reacted differently.

            Their “theme” is that they want police (as a BLM spokesperson said today) to be held accountable just as they would be if they committed violence against another person. John Oliver did a great segment on this on his HBO show (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaD84DTGULo) and outlines the system that BLM and other civil right groups are disturbed by. I keep hearing “It’s just a few bad apples”, but Oliver reminds viewers that the end of that old saw is “ruin the whole barrel”. Systemic problems include legal codes that protect LEOs from being held to the same standard as the citizens they oversee, the fact that the investigations into police misconduct are done by other police or people who work with them (prosecutors, for example), the way that “bad apples” like the cop who shot Tamir Rice are shuffled around from one department to another much like the pedophile priests were shuffled from parish to parish by Church authorities, the way that cops who speak out about fellow officers’ misconduct are shunned, threatened or even penalized by their superiors for speaking out.

            A great deal of the tension between police and the public would uncoil if we could trust that cops who actually did commit wrongful acts were held accountable for their crimes. Months ago Sacramento cops unwittingly gave us a video and audio record of them intentionally trying to run down a homeless man with their cruiser before shooting him 14 times — they’re back at work. The police are still investigating themselves in this case.

            It doesn’t help when major organizations like the Fraternal Order of Police come out in unbending support of the police involved before anything has been investigated. It helps when a cop is held accountable—as in the Levar Jones shooting—but over and against that, there is the Lacquan McDonald murder which was covered up by law enforcement entities all the way up to the prosecutor’s office.

            You seem to be saying it’s no big deal, nothing to be upset about—certainly not enough to change the status quo. But it IS a big deal because every Lacquan McDonald, Tamir Rice, John Crawford and Joseph Mann case (and those are just four out of hundreds) erodes trust in the law enforcement community—and with reason. When justice is done even if it penalizes LEOs; even when it benefits people you think are no big loss to society, then we will have reason for trust.

            As I said previously: I expect of our uniformed guardians that they take each situation on its own and not see people of color as “bad dudes” or “thugs” just because they are big and black or brown. I am expecting, not superhuman powers, but a simple lack of prejudice. If that requires retraining or different recruitment practices or rewriting laws, so be it.

            About black-on-black violence—the prime factor here is not skin color. It’s poverty. Crime rates are also high in impoverished white communities. And to claim that white-on-white violence is somehow qualitatively different (better violence?) does not stand to reason. People with light colored skin (who hail from a wide variety of ethnic groups) are not any less prone to spontaneous violence (such as road rage, domestic violence, or child abuse) than people with darker skins. I can cite any number of recent cases of white people exploding violently over the most trivial offenses and killing family members, friends and total strangers.

          • 66 Jack C.

            Your method of replying to my comments is to cherry-pick a paragraph and ignore most of the other context. I think I’m wasting my time in an endless loop of violence-denial (except when it comes to those “evil” cops).

            To understand all this, you’d probably have to be in a life-threatening situation with only YOURSELF as defense. Give yourself a gun in that scenario and ask yourself if you could resist using it, and how long you’d wait until doing so. Would you wait until some “unarmed” man punched you in the face repeatedly, potentially killing you? Those are the situations cops face every day. You can’t expect them to not take preemptive strikes when the danger level peaks.

            “Suicide by cop” also needs to be mentioned here. They are faced with people who want to die and take police out with them.

            I’d recommend reading or watching videos about the raw nature of human violence, some of which is tied to the hunting instinct and similar to other carnivorous species. Things happen very quickly and those who don’t prevent it end up dead.

          • I’m responding to the parts of your commentary that I find most problematic. Your appeals to “what would you do if” are irrelevant. I’ve told you already that I’ve encountered black men in dodgy neighborhoods and not been afraid of them because they did nothing to cause me fear. I had rather extended conversations with some of them, brief conversations with others.

            But since it bothers you so much—if I were in a dodgy neighborhood at night and armed, I wouldn’t shoot someone just because he was also armed, or because he made rude gesture from several yards away. I wouldn’t demand he get out of his car if I saw him with a joint or a gun. Especially if we lived in an concealed or open carry state. I would not shoot him if I saw him standing talking on a phone with a long gun pointed at the ground.

            I would at least draw my gun if he came flying at me with a gun, knife or fists raised. I would warn him off. If he didn’t heed my warning, yes, I would likely shoot him. But this isn’t the situation in the cases that concern me and BLM and other civil rights groups.

            Most of my comments have been directed at a form of police violence you have not addressed in any of your replies to me—people who were not doing anything criminal. People who were pulled over for an alleged seatbelt violation or light out, or because they were driving a car that seemed to nice for a black man. People who were accosted by police in middle class neighborhoods, not in “ghettos” or in the projects. People who were complying with police orders.

            So, let’s take actual thugs off the table. Can you address those situations other than to insist that they are “random” and not anything we should be concerned about?

      • 68 Jack C.

        ALL situations involving police are potentially lethal, and anyone pulled over needs to clam up and stay humble unless some evil rogue cop forces them to fight back (very rare). It’s a vicious cycle where more general resistance to arrest makes bad scenes more likely everywhere because cops will be more wary. Like it or not, it’s up to the arrestees to chill out for everyone’s safety. The no-snitching crowd is also a big part of the problem; they foster an anti-law mentality. The police won’t change for the most part because they see too much bad stuff (the whole point of this article).

        You should listen to that Sam Harris clip; his points are better spoken than me writing them. He emphasizes common naivety about the nature of sudden violence, which police face every day. Give the average person a gun & badge and watch them not shoot out of fear alone! It takes major guts to just enter a building or walk up to a car when you’re armed because guns escalate most situations, including domestic disputes with no police around.

        I assume you’re aware of what happened in Rwanda, Africa in 1994? Blacks are not innocent by mere virtue of being black – not even close. In America, far more blacks are being killed by other blacks than the police. They are a people prone to sudden violence more so than the calculated violence whites tend to perpetrate. No need to get into averages vs. exceptions; it’s just a known issue on the street. If you want to stay alive as a cop, you choose offense over defense as soon as a situation seems to get out of hand. Police ride-alongs in bad neighborhoods tend to silence the politically-correct.

        • ”Clam up and stay humble”? Jack, it’s not as simple as that, as you surely know. Levar Jones was utterly polite and non-confrontive. John Crawford didn’t even register the cop’s presence until the second before he was shot. Akai Gurley didn’t even see the cop who killed him in a dark stairwell. The caregiver shot while trying to calm his autistic patient had his hands up and was telling police the kid wasn’t armed. The fellow from Nevada was not talking back to police, though he’d had an altercation with a store employee earlier. He simply obeyed the command to drop his weapon … OR he reached for that weapon to shoot the officers.

          What bearing does the tribal violence in Rwanda have on this? While it underscores how tribal humans can be and how prejudiced, it has nothing to do with how American police treat the people they interact with. What you’re suggesting is that because Hutus attacked Tutsis, cops should be more suspicious of American Blacks. How rational does that sound to you?

          No one said Blacks were innocent because they are Black. That’s your own projection—the young man who was shot for complying with the order to drop his gun was white, and ex-military, I believe. Nor does ”black-on-black” violence have anything to do with this. As a commenter on another blog put it: “You think as long as black people murder each other that it’s ok for cops to do it too? You don’t think police should be held to a higher standard than murderers?”

          I’m at a loss to understand why you’d think one thing has aught to do with the other. It doesn’t. There is certainly a time and place to discuss violence in impoverished communities, or drug-related violence, or gang violence whether it’s black-on-black, white-on-white, or asian-on-asian (as in the rash of gang related home invasion robberies some years ago) Just as there is a time and place to discuss food deserts and the paucity of good schools in those areas. But those issues are not THIS issue, and this issue needs to be addressed as well.

          Interpersonal violence, whatever its cause, is just that—violence perpetrated by individuals on each other. Police violence against often unarmed members of a community—whatever their skin color—is violence of an institution against individuals. And in a case like the McDonald shooting, the law enforcement institution arose to cover up what happened.

          Here’s my question: Does a badge and membership in a government institution give someone the right to say, ”I killed him because he scared me” and have it stand as a reasonable reason to kill another human being? Is that acceptable?

          If cops are (as Harris suggests) perpetually scared, then is there ever a situation in which shooting someone is NOT justified? If that’s the case then why should we even bother to investigate police shootings at all. Let us just say that every police shooting is justified by virtue of having happened.

          • 70 Jack C.

            You’re just not understanding (on a gut level) the nature of sudden violence and what must be done to “head it off at the pass.” That’s also the reason for many take-downs that seem overly forceful. They catch the perpetrator off guard to prevent them from fighting back as easily. They can’t just ease thugs slowly to the ground and say “please sit down and let us cuff you.”

            BLM sympathizers constantly try to portray blacks (overall) as victims based on RARE cases where they don’t agitate the police and still get shot. Black on black violence has everything to do with precautions – they are known to be dangerous people. The vast majority of the time, it’s a case of thugs making cops very nervous (and cops get beaten up in many videos if you search for them). People are animals and automatically react to danger when protocols fail to calm the situation. You can’t expect a supernatural level of restraint from police.

            I don’t know what else to say, except try a police ride-along in a bad neighborhood sometime. Some people are terminally naive about danger and the need for proactive self defense. A number of women enjoy being around dangerous guys and often marry prisoners, and swear they’re innocent or misunderstood Nothing personal, but that’s a possible factor in your sympathies.

          • Jack, don’t make assumptions about what I do or do not understand on a visceral level. My craft makes digging deeply into human motivations a full time job and I’ve learned over the years to both analyze my own visceral reactions to situations and people and to put myself in the place of people whose world views are very different from mine.

            I have a visceral and very negative reaction to groups of young white males. It has caught me totally by surprise on occasion, but I’m capable of exerting enough reason not to instinctively hide, run or fight.

            Here’s what I’m saying that you’re not understanding: when a police officer makes a traffic stop, most people—regardless of the color of their skin—are predisposed to simply do what’s requested of them. So, if an officer asks to see my ID, I would normally just reach for my phone case or my purse. If he asks for my registration, I’ll reach for the glove box. Most people would do this. It seems normal. But in this environment of escalating violence, even I—a Caucasian adult woman—am nervous about being stopped and given that simple request.

            Here’s the thing: one of the things I’ve heard repeatedly from cops who have used excessive force against someone in a “routine” situation is that the person was acting “nervous” and that set the cop on edge. So, it’s not just don’t talk back, just comply and be humble, you also have to not act in a way that THIS cop will find nervous or suspicious. It seems that private citizens—especially people of color—have to be trained on how to change natural behavior (just reaching for your wallet to produce ID and being nervous or unhappy about being stopped) so as to avoid provoking a cop, frightening them or making them uneasy. (On the rare occasion I’ve been stopped, no matter how frustrated I’m feeling in the moment, I smile like the Cheshire Cat.)

            And this is the conversation that black parents at all levels of society have with their children—especially their sons. Legislators, lawyers, business owners of color have been stopped by police just for driving a car that seems too upscale for a black man on the assumption that it might be stolen.

            Do you not see anything off about that? You talk about how “rare” it is. It’s not rare enough.

            The language you use to describe these people is telling. You started using the word “thug” to describe the people who have been injured or killed in encounters with police, and suggest that it’s expecting superhuman restraint to expect a cop not to react to their own nerves by shooting someone. Yet, you’re suggesting that the untrained civilian have superhuman powers—specifically, mind reading. When that cop in Nevada asked the young man to drop his gun, the kid immediately and reflexively complied and died as a result. His alternative was to NOT comply and ask how the cop wanted him to retrieve the weapon—which also might have gotten him shot for hesitating to comply. Lose-lose.

            Your last comment was just flat out insulting. I’m not arguing that actual thugs are innocent. I’m arguing that police too often view a person as a thug going in and filter his actions through that lens. I will say that I’ve never been afraid of a black man in my life—even when I’ve encountered them in sketchy neighborhoods, because they have not offered me any reason to be afraid of them. I can’t say the same for some of the white males I’ve encountered from whom I’ve experienced bullying, or assumptions about what they’re entitled to when it comes to my person. That does not, however, mean that I judge every white man I meet because of those experiences. I’m capable of being rational, even in the face of my own visceral reactions to situations. I don’t understand the savior complexes some women have any better than you do. So please stop looking for reasons to disqualify me or my position on this subject by hinting at a pathology.

            And therein lies my point. I expect of our uniformed guardians no more than I expect of myself. That they take each situation on its own and not see big, black men or other people of color as “bad dudes” or “thugs” just because they are big and black or brown. I am expecting, not superhuman powers, but a simple lack of prejudice.

          • 72 Jack C.

            “If cops are (as Harris suggests) perpetually scared, then is there ever a situation in which shooting someone is NOT justified? If that’s the case then why should we even bother to investigate police shootings at all. Let us just say that every police shooting is justified by virtue of having happened.”

            You’re using the fallacy that nervous cops somehow make shootings inevitable, regardless of an arrestee’s BEHAVIOR in MOST cases. It falls under the general category of “ignoratio elenchi” or fallacies that miss the point. You’re trying to eliminate personal behavior as a factor and that’s the cornerstone of the victim mentality. Most times when people cooperate with police, nothing bad happens.

            Plenty of whites are shot when they resist arrest, like Dylan Noble in Fresno. https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=dylan+noble+fresno (note the typical excuse of him being “unarmed” when his behavior made the cop very nervous)

            You put far more weight on race than is due, though as I mentioned earlier, blacks can seem scarier than whites by virtue of speech patterns and athletic quickness. I’m bowing out here because I’ll just have to keep repeating earlier posts as you dodge personal accountability and treat flukes as the norm.

  20. 73 Jack C.

    Maya wrote: “I will say that I’ve never been afraid of a black man in my life—even when I’ve encountered them in sketchy neighborhoods, because they have not offered me any reason to be afraid of them. I can’t say the same for some of the white males I’ve encountered from whom I’ve experienced bullying, or assumptions about what they’re entitled to when it comes to my person.”

    That broad-brush denial explains why it’s hard to reach you with evidence. Do you have any context for those white encounters, for example you being white and likely being closer to them more often? Blacks are always the good guys is rubbish! You’re off the deep end of political correctness.

    It would take you seconds to find stories of extreme black on white mayhem, most commonly rape. Black men raping black & white women is very common in Africa, notably in SA.

    https://www.google.com/search?&q=africa+rape+violence+blacks

  21. Re comment #37: I mistyped a statistic. Annual self-reported “justifiable shootings” by police is averaging 450 annually, not 750. The real number may be higher. This will depend, of course, on how many such shootings are not reported.


  1. 1 Separating Facts From Propaganda in the Ferguson Case | Sex, Relationships, Life, and Politics

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